Capstone Courses and Projects

Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation

A Retail Market Analysis for NYCHA’s Prospect Park HOPE VI Project
Ocean Hill/Brownsville is home to the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA’s) Prospect Plaza HOPE VI Project. Prospect Plaza, which is located at Saratoga Avenue and Sterling Place, is a multi-acre site that is bound by Fulton and Sutter Avenues to the north and south, and Rockaway and Buffalo Avenues to the east and west. This urban planning study, which was solicited at the behest of Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), undertakes a comprehensive retail market analysis that draws upon the available resources and identifies alternative uses for the project site. Specifically, the retail market analysis identifies the current state of commercial development in Ocean Hill/Brownsville and how economic growth can be fostered in and around the target area. The strategy that was employed in undertaking a comprehensive retail market analysis included 1) conducting residential and business surveys in the target are, 2) identifying economic trends and indicators that are associated with high growth retail areas and 3) generating maps that outlined area land uses, potential commercial development sites and other information of import to decision-makers. The final report will inform NYCHA and BEDC’s evaluation of the value of the alternative uses being proposed for the project site.This Capstone was made possible with the support from The Moody’s Foundation.

The Enterprise Foundation

A Critical Evaluation of Enterprise’s Investments in the Northwest Bronx
For eighteen years, Enterprise has worked to provide low-income people in New York with affordable housing, safer streets and access to jobs and child care through substantial, community investments in the form of loans, grants and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations that are building and revitalizing local neighborhoods. The objective for the Capstone team was to develop a replicable tool for a critical evaluation of the impact of Enterprise’s work in communities and apply this tool to a model community, namely, the Fordham/Bedford section of the Bronx. To this end, the team developed an evaluation model that utilizes quantitative as well as qualitative measures of change and impact. The quantitative part of the model involves a pre-/post-intervention comparison of indicator values, while the qualitative part of the model involves conducting interviews with key individuals.

New York State Department of Transportation

Improving Regional Advanced Traveler Information Systems Through Interoperability
In the era of Robert Moses, transportation planners tried to relieve traffic congestion by building new highways. After years of watching new roads fill up as soon as they were built, planners have largely abandoned this approach. Now, planners help motorists make the most efficient use of limited roadway space by deploying Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). ITS technologies include EZ-PASS, freeway ramp metering, and reversible flow lanes. Other ITS technologies notify motorists of congested traffic conditions and help motorists identify alternate routes. These technologies are known as Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) and include Variable Message Signs, Highway Advisory Radio, and online traveler information websites. Throughout New York, dozens of agencies operate ATIS. The quality of information that reaches motorists is dependent upon these agencies’ ability to share traffic information with one another. The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is looking to improve the exchange of traffic information within its eleven regions and between itself and other agencies. The Capstone team will deliver to NYSDOT a set of recommendations designed to improve this exchange of traffic information. The recommendations will focus on three areas: (1) opportunities to co-locate NYSDOT facilities and staff with other agencies’ facilities and staff, (2) opportunities to adopt compatible Regional Architectures, software systems that aid with the cataloging and dissemination of traffic information, (3) at a policy-making level, opportunities to bring together representatives of NYSDOT regions to promote inter-regional cooperation.

St. Albans Congregational Church

Faith-Based Community Development in St. Albans, Queens
The Capstone team created a community development plan for St. Albans Congregational Church (SACC) that will leverage its two major assets - a community facility and commercial retail space - for community development in Southeast Queens. The project recommends possibilities for the SACC to market their community facility, strengthen their niche in the neighborhood and more fully utilize their existing assets based on a needs assessment of residents as well as existing retail and services in St. Albans. The plan also suggests alternatives for capacity building based on other faith-based models in New York City.

National Park Service

Reuse of Rockaway Coast Guard Station Site
The former Rockaway Coast Guard Station site occupies a prime location at the foot of the Marine Parkway Bridge and close to world famous Riis Beach. The Capstone team identified ways of adaptively reusing the historic station, and developed financial models to lay out the costs of renovation. The team studied hospitality facilities at other NPS sites around the country and based on that research, developed revenue and expense scenarios for new site uses such as a bed & breakfast, hostel, and conference center. Historic preservation of the station, environmental hazards, and transportation to and from the site also played a key role in the group’s reuse plans. Team members sought to link the Coast Guard building to other relevant developments in the NPS’s Jamaica Bay Unit and, in a larger context, to the entire Gateway National Recreation Area, stretching from the Atlantic Highlands in New Jersey to Staten Island, Breezy Point, and Jamaica Bay.

New York City Department of City Planning

Public Place: Visioning the Gowanus Canal Waterfront
Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, once a vibrant oyster bed and pristine fishery, is today one of the most toxic waterways in the United States. But with land becoming increasingly sparse in New York City, vacant lots along the canal have the potential to be redeveloped for productive uses. At seven acres, the Public Place site on the west side of the canal in Carroll Gardens, formerly the location of a manufactured gas plant (MGP), is the largest, city-owned parcel in the area. The Capstone team was asked to identify potential future uses for the Public Place site. The team met with numerous community stakeholders and conducted a large-scale community survey to understand the redevelopment preferences of those living and/or working near the canal. Responses to the survey will be compiled to broadly describe community preferences, and the results will be shared with community organizations, government representatives, survey respondents, and the general public with the goal of incorporating community preferences into any future redevelopment of the site.This Capstone was made possible with the support from an anonymous donor through FJC: A Donor-Advised Fund.

New York City Economic Development Corporation

Cropsey Avenue - Gateway to Coney Island
New York City's Economic Development Corporation (EDC) was charged by Mayor Bloomberg with designing and implementing an economic revitalization for Coney Island, Brooklyn. A Coney Island Strategic Plan was created which calls for enhanced entertainment attractions that take advantage of the area's unique appeal and historic legacy, a new community center for job training and recreational uses, and the increase of affordable housing on vacant City-owned land. This Plan strongly emphasizes the transformation of the area into a year-round oceanfront destination. For this purpose, one component of the Plan calls for the re-envisioning of a stretch of Cropsey Avenue and West 17th Street as a vibrant gateway to the seaside amusement area and the surrounding residences. The Capstone team conducted extensive research into existing conditions on the stretch and produced recommendations regarding short and long term zoning, traffic, streetscape and signage improvements that will transform Cropsey Avenue and West 17th Street into a welcoming gateway to Coney Island. This Capstone was made possible with the support from The Moody’s Foundation and an anonymous donor through FJC: A Donor-Advised Fund.

New York Water Taxi

Regional Waterborne Transit Analysis
Recognizing the New York Metropolitan Region’s growth, mobility needs, emerging development patterns, current levels of congestion, and the need for redundant modes of transportation for regional security, it is critical that the region considers enhancing its transit networks. This analysis substantiated the need for a regional waterborne transportation network and identified feasible routes for potential future ferry service.